The mission of Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics (LWRG), is to provide the highest quality gymnastic training to all ages and levels of athletes in a safe, positive and stimulating environment, while developing strong, happy young people of good character and good sportsmanship.
While challenging each athlete to progress to his or her individual ability and commitment level, we will strive to help each child grow, not only in his/her physical abilities, but also as people of character, integrity, and sportsmanship, and to become contributing members of society. We will assist our parents in teaching their children to take responsibility for their actions, to think for themselves, to encourage them to act respectfully to their peers and coaches, and to instill a sense of pride in their athletic abilities and accomplishments. It is our goal to provide a program that the whole family can enjoy and spend quality time together in a wholesome environment. We hope to achieve all of this in a way which works in a cohesive manner for everyone involved – the athlete, the parents, and the staff of LWRG.
WHO WE ARE
David and Laura Parraga
Owners David and Laura Parraga both have an extensive background in the gymnastics arena. David is a former Venezuelan National Team member and international caliber-athlete, while Laura is a former competitive gymnast, judge, and professional cheerleader. Up until May of 2012 Laura and David were the optional head coaches at LaFleur’s Gymnastics in Largo for 9 years while living in Manatee County.
During this time they had many teams win numerous state titles as well as coaching individuals to state, regional, and national championship titles. David and Laura currently have several athletes competing in NCAA gymnastics programs, many attaining full athletic scholarships. They are among select coaches in the area/state that have participated in the elite gymnastics arena and have attended camps and activities at the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center. Both David and Laura are in good standing with USAG and are safety certified, have completed NCSI background checks and are Adult and Pediatric CPR Certified. They are also both certified in Safe Sport conduct for athletes. They are excited to provide their expertise to area gymnasts, while now being so close to home.
David Parraga, who was born and raised in Venezeula, started his career in gymnastics at the age of 6 when he was spotted by a gymnastics coach flipping around on the beach. After training for many years, David became a member of the Venezuelan National Gymnastics Team, which he was on for 6 consecutive years and was the Venezuelan athlete of the year. He was also a Medalist in the 1987 Pan American Junior Games, and had many assignments to compete in International Competitions all over the world. During his time of travel he soon came to realize he wanted to live in the United States. So, in 1999 he moved to Miami. Since then David has worked at several well known gymnastics camp; such as Woodward, the University of Georgia, and Penn State University, as well as in private clubs. In David’s spare time he loves fishing, golfing, playing polo and watching baseball.
Laura Parraga, who started gymnastics at the age of three, was born and raised in South Carolina. After gymnastics, Laura spent many of her years as a cheerleader and was fortunate to have had the opportunity to cheer in SuperBowl XXXIII in Miami, when the Atlanta Falcons were playing in it. During her early cheerleading days, Laura began coaching part time at her local gymnastics training center, and found her passion. She quickly developed the technical skills required, but found that her greatest joy was watching the young gymnasts set and achieve goals. Laura is a nationally recognized and accredited gymnastics judge and has been coaching and judging since 1992. While not in the gym, Laura enjoys boating, horse back riding and spending time with her beagles.
Compulsory Team Director
Caroline was born in Sarasota, but raised in Tampa, Florida. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Elementary Education in 2013. Caroline began gymnastics while in elementary school and competed in both compulsory and optional levels. While in high school, Caroline joined an all-star cheerleading team for two years and was also a part of her high school’s varsity cheer team for her senior year. She began coaching gymnastics the summer after she finished high school and has enjoyed every minute of it! Caroline has worked at LWRG since April of 2013. She has coached numerous Level 2, 3 & 4 individual state champions and has coached our Level 2, 3 & 4 teams to many team state titles! Caroline has passed NCSI background checks as well as having been certified through Safe Sport for athlete conduct. She is pediatric and adult CPR certified. She has always loved gymnastics and it is one of her true passions!
When she is not in the gym coaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Chad, and dog, Brady. She loves working out, going to the beach, and watching lots of sports!
Preschool/Recreational and Xcel Gold/Platinum Director
Jill was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She was a gymnast and dancer from the ages of 4-14. After competing gymnastics Jill began cheerleading that then led her to college cheerleading at the University of Louisville where she graduated with her Bachelor’s in Health Promotion. Jill began coaching at her childhood gymnastics club while attending college and quickly realized her love and passion for the sport and more importantly the kids involved.
She has been coaching for over 26 years heading many programs from preschool through competitive team. Jill has passed NCSI background checks as well as having been certified through Safe Sport for athlete conduct. She is pediatric and adult CPR certified. Outside of the gym Jill enjoys running and cross training as well as redoing old furniture. Jill has always said “There is nothing better than getting smiles and hugs from all the kids, it makes my day”. Jill currently coaches preschool and our Xcel Competitive Team athletes.
Compulsory and Optional Team Coach
Dali was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida at the age of five. She began gymnastics at the age of eight and fell in love with it immediately. With her instant love for the sport she couldn’t get enough of gymnastics and it soon became a lifestyle. She trained under Laura and David Parraga at Lafleur’s Gymnastics of Largo.
While there she achieved several individual state titles, regional titles, qualified to three Eastern J.O. Championships and was the 2008 Eastern J.O. Level 9 vault champion. She was also able to accomplish her dream of performing as a collegiate gymnast as she was accepted to the University of Florida as a member of the Gator Gymnastics team. As a freshman in college she was a part of UF’s vault lineup for every meet and set her collegiate best score of a 9.9. She was a member of three SEC title winning teams and was a part of the first ever NCAA National Championship title for the UF Gymnastics team. While at Florida she was named to the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches Scholastic All-America team and was a four time SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient. She had the time of her life competing for a top ranked University and learned so much about gymnastics and herself. She is ready to pass on her knowledge to the next generation of athletes and is so very happy to be at LWRG coaching along side of her club coaches.
In 2013 she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. After graduation she interned with the UF Strength and Conditioning program where she was able to work with the gymnastics, women’s soccer and lacrosse teams. Dali has passed NCSI background checks as well having been certified through Safe Sport for athlete conduct. She is pediatric and adult CPR certified.
When she’s not in the gym she enjoys spending time with my family, her husband, Clay and her daughter Kayna. She enjoys working out, cooking, and watching football….lots of football!
Compulsory Team Coach
Chi H comes to Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics with over 30 years of gymnastics experience. A level 10 competitive gymnast, Chi trained at Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy and went on to earn a full scholarship to Iowa State University under then head coach K.J. Kindler. At Iowa State, Chi was an all-around gymnast, school balance beam record holder, and Academic All Big XII Team member.
Chi began her coaching career at Cardinal Gymnastics Academy in 2001 while at Iowa State. Since then, she had the privilege of coaching at Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy working with children of all ages and levels, from beginner to Level 10. Chi has also served as the gymnastics program director at SKIES Unlimited in Fort Knox, KY.
Chi is a full-time Realtor, proud military spouse, and dog-mom of two.
Xcel Team Coach
Erin began gymnastics at the age of three and competed through high school as a level nine gymnast. She has been coaching for over 19 years, coaching gymnasts of all levels at gyms and camps in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida as well as being a previous gymnastics program director. She has passed NCSI background checks as well as having been certified through Safe Sport for athlete conduct. Erin has a Bachelors Degree in Sports Management from Bowling Green State University, a Masters Degree in Communications from the University of Queensland and she works full time in marketing and advertising for a large nonprofit organization. When not coaching, Erin enjoys spending time with her husband, running, working out and doing anything outside.
Recreational & Team Coach, Xcel Bronze and Silver Director
Sophie has a lifelong love for Gymnastics and started training when she was three years old. She quickly accelerated through the levels finishing her career as a level 9 gymnast in Melbourne, Australia. Her passion is both the competitive aspect and the recreational fun of the sport. She competed as an XCEL at LWRG and began coaching at LWRG at age eighteen. Sophie was born in Ohio and moved to Florida at the age of 7. She also lived abroad in Australia from 2013-2015. Sophie has completed her BS in accounting at The University of South Florida. [/expander_maker]
Recreational and PreTeam Coach
Kara was born in Frederick, MD and was raised in Bradenton, FL. She is currently a sophomore at the State College of Florida. She started gymnastics when she was six years old and competed until she was 12. She moved to California at age 12 and began Allstar cheerleading, which she did for two years. After moving back to Florida, Kara cheered throughout high school and was captain her senior year. Kara enjoys working with our recreational athletes and is has her Safesport Certification for athlete conduct.
Emma grew up in Illinois, and moved to Florida in 2016. She started gymnastics at the age of 3, continuing in the sport until she reached level 9 at the age of 17 and competed at LWRG under Laura & David. Soon after she stopped gymnastics, she started competitive all star cheerleading. Emma graduated from Lakewood Ranch High school in 2021 and attends the University of Miami pursuing a masters degree in chemistry, in hopes of become a pharmacist. Emma found her passion working with kids! She enjoys working with all ages, but her favorite group are the preschool classes!
Shaylen Swenson was raised in San Antonio, Texas, but has lived in Lakewood Ranch for the last 4 years and has loved it since moving here! She is a graduate from Lakewood Ranch High School and is currently completing her junior year of college at the University of South Florida, pursuing a degree in marketing. Shaylen began her gymnastics career at Chow’s Gymnastics as a young child and then went on to compete as a lower level gymnast in Texas until she was 11. She then went on to do competitive cheerleading and dance throughout high school and did not rediscover her love for the sport of gymnastics until she began coaching at LWRG in 2018. Coach Shay has been with LWRG for three years and has experience with coaching pre-school, recreational, and pre-team gymnastics. She also enjoys working our summer camps and getting to have fun with all the kiddos she coaches here at Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics!
Recreational & Team Coach
Vanasia is a Detroit, Michigan native. She trained gymnastics in Michigan for 15 years, qualifying as an elite gymnast in 2013. She competed at the P&G Championships as an elite. Vanasia accepted a full scholarship to the University of Florida but due to unexpected medical reasons upon arrival to UF, she had to retire from the sport. Which is where her coaching career began. She was a student coach at UF for two years and has also coached regreabtiona and lower level competitive team gymnastics at the club level. She is completing her degree in Sport Management and will graduate in May. In her free time she enjoys relaxing and spending time with family and friends.
Recreational Team Coach, PreTeam Director
Jenna was born and raised in Sarasota, FL.
She started gymnastics at age 8 and started training with the owners, David and Laura, at age 12. Jenna progressed through level 10 and earned a gymnastics scholarship to Texas Woman’s University. During her 4 years at the university, she earned 3 All-American titles on bars and two back-to-back USAG National Championships. Jenna has a bachelors degree in Kinesiology and a minor in business management.
Jenna started coaching recreational gymnastics at age 14. She leads successful pre-teams, level 1 team state championship, and also coaches XCEL Silvers.
Kim was born and raised in Northeast Ohio. She is married to Mike, and they have three children: Marissa, Samantha & Salvatore. All three have been very active in high level sports.
Kim grew up loving the sports of gymnastics and cheerleading, participating in both at the recreational/school levels. She coached a CYO cheer squad while in high school.
Kim spent her early career with The Glidden Co. in Cleveland working in Human Resources as Benefits Rep & Training Coordinator. As a parent, Kim was a very active school volunteer for over 20 years, including teachers aid, reading aid, office aid, room mom and chaperone. She was also very involved in youth sports, managing several soccer teams and chairing several committees. At Gymnastics World in Ohio, she served on the Booster Club Board as Secretary and aided in the coordination of the annual “Rock & Roll Classic” gymnastics meet — volunteering in areas such as hospitality, decorations, meet worker/event timer. She also volunteered at R5 JO Regionals when it was hosted in downtown Cleveland.
In 2014, Kim & her family moved to Lakewood Ranch. During that time, Marissa played D1 soccer in Florida, Sammy competed & trained as a L8/9 gymnast for Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics, and Sal played soccer at IMG Academy. At LWRG, Sammy was a L8 State Champion on Bars, Vault & the All-Around as well as Regional Champion on Vault.
While a LWRG parent, Kim was involved in the Parents Club, planning the annual optionals banquet and the Grand Opening / Gold Medal Breakfast with Aly Raisman celebrations.
Kim began working in the office at LWRG in April, 2018. She enjoys the fast pace of a positive and successful gymnastics club and working with all of the staff and gym families at LWRG. It’s a dream come true to tie in her love of the sport with a position that helps others enjoy it as well. This summer, Sammy also returned to the gym as a part time camp coach.
Kim is a graduate of Bryant & Stratton College and studied Human Resources at Notre Dame College of Ohio. She has a USAG Instructor membership, is Safe Sport certified and NCSI background checked.
In her spare time, Kim enjoys spending time with her family, attending soccer matches and watching NCAA gymnastics. She is a big college gym fan! Her favorite teams are The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Kent State Golden Flashes gymnastics teams.